Coronation Street’s sepsis storyline has raised awareness of the disease, a law firm has said.
Viewers of the ITV soap have seen promising footballer Jack Webster (Kyran Bowes) fall ill with life-threatening blood poisoning after grazing his leg.
Doctors were forced to amputate to stop the infection spreading.
Clinical negligence specialist Marguarita Tyne, at solicitors Clarke Willmott LLP, said sepsis can be a cause of legal claims for compensation and that the firm was seeing increased awareness of the condition and potential clients calling with enquiries.
Ms Tyne said: “In the majority of cases health practitioners will have done all they can to diagnose the infection. We would not want to suggest that doctors are regularly missing sepsis and that it is always negligent when they miss it.”
She added that “in a minority of cases the outcome could have been different with earlier recognition of sepsis”.
“Sepsis UK have done such a good job raising the profile of this terrible illness,” she said.
“It is not just about educating healthcare professionals it is also about educating members the public to get help earlier, or to persist with their doctor.”
The NHS website identifies high temperature or low body temperature, chills and shivering, a fast heartbeat and fast breathing as early signs of sepsis.
It says in some cases, symptoms of more severe sepsis or septic shock (when blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level) develop soon after.
These can include feeling dizzy or faint, a change in mental state, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, slurred speech, severe muscle pain, severe breathlessness and clammy and pale or mottled skin.
“The more that people are aware that there is a check list to go through and they can find this material online the more likely they are to get themselves to a doctor sooner rather than later,” said Ms Tyne.
“If the little boy who just grazed his knee in Coronation Street can get the message across that something so innocuous can have a devastating effect, it is not just drama but something that often happens in real life.”